Tuesday, April 27, 2010

spring retreat

A couple of weeks ago we went on our YAV spring retreat. We packed up the mini-van and ventured out into the middle of nowhere Mississippi for a weekend of discerning, relaxing, playing, and of course eating.

I had a blast hanging out with my fellow YAVs--boating, hiking, biking, swimming, pool, and lots of laughing!

The discernment part of the weekend was really helpful. I didn't have any huge revelations about life and I certainly didn't come to any clear conclusions about what to do next. I did learn a lot about my work preferences and skills and how those correlate with my personality type.

Janet, a career counselor/spiritual director from Nashville joined us for our weekend. She offered a lot of valuable resources to us. On of the tests we took was the Strong Interest Inventory. My top five interests (according to the test) are: education, helping and counseling, religion and spirituality, politics and public speaking, and medicine. I would say it was pretty much spot on! According to the test I am not called to be an accountant. I already knew that.

It was a great weekend and I was reminded, once again, how great our God is!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Back in March, I was visiting a teenage boy in the hospital and I asked him if he had been watching the basketball tournament on tv. He responded, "Next time someone asks me that question, I am going to shove a basketball in their face." Apparently he is not a basketball fan. I laughed (on the inside) and changed the subject.

These days I can relate to my teenage friend. The question everyone asks is, "what is next for you?" The problem with this question is that I don't know the answer and thinking about it stresses me out!

Psalm 119 says "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Earlier this year I -prayed that this light would be a little brighter--that my path would be illumined and I would be able to discern God's will for my life. What was I thinking?!? God has certainly illumined my path--with a flood light.

I have a lot of exciting possibilities for next year. They all include seminary in some capacity and they all have pros and cons. I am certain that no matter what I choose I will be following God's call. I suppose having too many options is better than having no options...but I still feel overwhelmed when I think about "what is next?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sorry to my devoted readers (aka my mom) for my leave of absence. I have not been too busy to blog--just unmotivated. To make up for it I am going to blog about my feelings...a rare occurrence =)

The past few weeks have been full of things worthy of a blog: lent, holy week, Easter, a trip to the beach, acceptance letters to schools, job interviews, food adventures, running woes, a visit from from my parents, work! So many wonderful, joyful things in my life--but I have not felt very joyful. I have been feeling tired. Tired of being broke, tired of discerning, tired of living in community, tired of everything! I know God was present, even in this time, but I wasn't feeling or experiencing God.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a run. After the run I felt energized. Today I still feel that energy and I am confident it will be with me in the morning (after my coffee). I am feeling God's presence and experiencing joy in God.

We all have storms and deserts in our lives. We often look back on them, learn from them and can see how God was working in our lives. But sometimes there seems to be no explanations, no lessons to be learned.

At the end of a Maundy Thursday service the Christ candle is often extinguished and then lit again because we know that the Crucifixion is not the end of the story. We know that Easter is coming. It is this same story, this same hope that allows us to get through these difficult times! We know our stories don't end in those storms and deserts because we have faith and hope in Christ.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

I few months ago I came across a Local Food Sunday School Curriculum published by a website called The Thoughtful Christian.

At the time I was struggling to make any commitment to changing my lifestyle because it felt overwhelming and in some ways hypocritical. The beginning of the curriculum addressed this issue and was very meaningful to me so I thought I would share.

"The complexity of these issues often feels overwhelming, and sometimes we are tempted to throw up our hands in despair and defeat. The problems are so big, so many so multifaceted. What is one person or one family to do in the face of such a massive and often opaque system?

Thanks be to God, there are many practical things we can do to attend to the sources of our food...it is important to acknowledge the sense of being overwhelmed. For the truth is we are enmeshed within the current system of food production, and we will almost inevitably be complicit in that system, no matter how much we want not to be. As Christians, then, it seems to me our first response, before we do anything, should be one of repentance, an acknowledgement that we have erred, that we will continue to err, and that we desperately need God's mercy. Only after confessing out complicity in the destructive systems by which we procure our food and receiving the assurance of pardon God offers us can we take action that flows not from debilitating guilt but from liberating grace."

I am not sure why the website I posted yesterday isn't linking. Here is the video:

The Story of Bottled Water

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, March 22, 2010

One down, three to go

Week one of the 100 mile diet is complete! I can't say it has been easy and I can't say that I have done a great job of sticking to it. Just ask the boys that I live with--they have been watching me like a hawk! Overall I did well but sometimes I just needed a snack and I certainly am not about to turn down free food--even if it isn't local! So yes, I cheated. But being strict about the diet or depriving myself of food that I have a craving for is not what this is about. It is about being intentional about the food I buy and consume. It is about being aware of where my food comes from and how it tastes. It is about connecting with the local community and land.

The worst part of the diet is the cost. It is sad for two reasons. The first is that I ripped a hole in my favorite jeans and I can't afford to replace them this month because I am buying fresh fish. The second (and more important) reason is that fresh, sustainable, high quality food should not be a luxury. We need a food system that provides fresh, sustainable, high quality food to everyone--rich or poor.

In other news...

Today is World Water Day. An article in the Huffington Post states that "Nearly a billion people -- one-sixth of the world's population -- have no access to safe drinking water, 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation, and more than 3 million people die from water-related diseases each year. Forty-six percent of people on Earth do not have water piped to their homes, and much of the burden of collecting water falls to women -- women in developing countries walk an average of 3.7 miles to get water."

A billion people with no access to safe drinking water!?! I know I use more than my share of water and I admit that I am guilty of having bought a plastic bottle of water. Something else I suppose I should add to my list of things to be aware of and intentional about...ugh. A new article and video by Annie Leonard explores the ridiculous industry of bottled water. It is here if you are interested:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

trying to be a good steward

Last week I decided that I needed a new hobby. Running was fun but my body (my foot in particular) needs some time to recover. After much deliberation I choose eating to be my new hobby. More specifically I decided to try (for one month) a 100 mile diet. I figure I can replace the time I spent running with grocery shopping, cooking, and eating!

I went o the farmers market this weekend and officially started the diet on Monday. I had Louisiana strawberries for breakfast and for dinner made egg salad (with local spicy mayo). For lunch I went out to eat. Obviously going out for lunch does not fit into the diet but I had previously decided on two "cheats." One is coffee. I am simply not ready to give up my caffeine addiction. The second "cheat" is shared meals. I often meet with my mentor or a colleague over a meal and every Sunday my house has family dinner. This community element is too important to me to give up for even a month. Many "locavore" blogs talk about a 100 mile diet by the percentage of local foods consumed. I would guess about 80 to 90 percent of my diet the next month will be local.

Not only does this give me something to put time and energy into while my foot heals, it supports local economy and reduces my carbon foot print on the earth. The following animation is the best things I have found to explain the problems with out current food system. It is a little long and the animation is not stellar but the information is clear and concise. If you don't know much about the dangers of our food system I would recommend it!
(I deleted the video because I got tired of hearing the music every time I visit my blog...google "true cost of food" and you will find it)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my marathon endeavor the past several months. A special thanks to those in New Orleans that came out and cheered for me on the course--it made a huge difference! At the end of this long (and painful) journey, I have raised $2144 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and finished 26.2 miles in 5:27:39. Hopefully I will be able to walk again soon =)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What would Jesus do?

It is a safe bet that if my blog layout changes I am procrastinating. Today I am putting off finishing my seminary application. Another means by which I procrastinate is to read blogs of friends and fellow YAVs. While reading a new friends blog I came across videos from a BBC show that I had to share!

We are reminded on Sundays that we should pray with the confidence of children. Perhaps we should consider asking questions with intensity, eagerness, and inhibition of children as well! While we laugh at the seemingly ridiculous questions of Ben and Karen, they address some serious theological questions and concerns that many Christians share. Why doesn't this all powerful God just fix all the bad and the suffering in the world? Why do we not have everything we think we need--like a sun that will shine forever! Why does God allow evil to exist? Why does Jesus put up with our nonsense--with our selfishness? Why did God send His only son to die for our sins?

As someone who is interested in ministry I also think this video is a reminder to be patient and willing to teach those that have questions. It is also a reminder to be prepared!

Here is one more clip from the show. There are more on youtube if you are interested.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Amazing Race

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

I have two "races" to coming up in my life. I interpret "race" to be an event that challenges me--an event that requires endurance and strength. The first of my races is the Mardi Gras Marathon. I can't believe it is only a little more than a week away!

The other "race" is one that we are all participating in, the season of lent. It is a time of reflection and confessions, a time to refine our deliberate discipleship practices. If we are intentional and committed to this season it will be challenging. To take up our own crosses and follow Jesus will take discipline, strength, and endurance.

I am anxious about finishing the marathon. I wonder if I am really prepared and if I have the will power to run 26.2 miles. I already know how the journey to the cross ends. It ends with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our saviour, the promise of ever lasting life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras

Here are some pictures from Mardi Gras Day. Enjoy!

The costumes are pretty outrageous...

So are the floats....

And the crowds!
My roomates are pretty outrageous too =)

I managed to snag a Zulu coconut.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Dat

It has been an interesting week here in New Orleans. I don't know whether to laugh at, be offended by, or join in the Saint's frenzy. At church on Sunday there were Go Saints signs at the front of the church--right next to the pulpit! Two weeks from now when we play in the super bowl I am not sure anyone will be at church. The streets of the city were silent last night as the Saints played and ruckus after the win. Even in our neighborhood, everyone was out in the street celebrating the victory.

I was in North Carolina in 2004 when the Panthers advanced to the super bowl and for the Tar Heel Championship in 2005. I went to several huge games in my two years at Ohio State. But--I have never seen anything like the party in New Orleans last night! I can not even imagine what the Super Bowl will bring. No doubt it will be a good time here in the Who Dat Nation.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

God is here

I should be asleep. I went to bed but find myself unable to sleep because my mind is too busy. So, I thought I would put good use to my busy mind and write a post. Perhaps if the thoughts go down on paper (or the internet) I can get some sleep!

I am laying in bed wandering, with a heavy heart, why am I so fortunate while others are suffering so much? Why am I laying in my bed with a stable building under me and a roof over me head while people in Haiti lay trapped under collapsed buildings or tents? Why am I able to eat whenever and whatever I choose while some people, even children, are hungry? Why should I be here in New Orleans enjoying life so much while a friend from high school is saying goodbye to her baby girl? Where is God in all of this mess???

I know He is with me. I feel His presence and am comforted by it. He is in Haiti. He is wrapping His arms around those trapped in rubble--He is holding them tight. He is crying alongside the survivors--sharing their pain and suffering. He is smiling and welcoming those who have come home to Him.

God is certainly with that baby girl as she fights for her life. He brings her peace and comfort. He brings her so much love that all those around her can see His light shining through her. He is holding the hand of this girl's mother. Who better to hold hands with than a man who has seen His own child suffer so greatly? He is probably in awe of the internet prayer chain that has reached an untold amount of people since the time of diagnosis!

God is with those who are hungry, poor, and homeless--and those that aren't. God is everywhere! How else could we make it through the day, through the hard times, through the tragedies? How else could we ever get a good nights sleep?

Friday, January 15, 2010

the big picture

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Dear God,

Thankyou for all the opportunities for character development. Can I have a break now? I am tired.


It is amazing that in times of suffering we can praise God. It is even more amazing to be able to praise God for our sufferings--but how can we not? I know God is using my experiences and time here in New Orleans to help me grow and develop--God is preparing me to do His work in the world.
For those that do not already know, I have felt called to apply to a dual degree program in divinity and social work. Looking back over the past month or so I can see so many ways in which I am being prepared for this call. If you feel so called to read it, here is a link to my admissions essay which I submitted with my social work applications:

I have never used google docs before so let me know if the link doesn't work!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


There are types of prayer that come easily to me--prayers of adoration, love, and thanks. I find the prayer of confession to be especially powerful and something I have really developed and appreciated over the past few months. When it comes to prayers of petition or intercession I begin to struggle...

There are two things that have weighed heavily on my mind for a few weeks. Deep down I feel like all I really need to do is pray--to give it up to God. But when I try the words do not come. I try to open a conversation with God but my mind immediately takes over. If I were to truly give it to God I would be losing control. Not only would I lose control but I would open myself up to God's will which may not be in line with my will.

It has taken a lot of discussion and many sleepless nights to get to a point where I can admit my struggle with prayer and to understand why it exists. I am glad to be at this point because it is only when we acknowledge our struggles and understand them that we can overcome them and grow.

You may wonder why I would share this--I certainly do! It is hard to share, but I do anyway because I value Christian community. I share because someone might read this and relate to it. It might make Christianity more real and accessible to someone. Many might read this and share advice--maybe they have been in this place before. I share because in times that I can not pray for myself I know others will and are praying for me.